Veterans Helping Veterans

- 1/17/2023




 By Gayla Sue Mendez


Jan 13, 2023 - Veterans Helping Veterans completed a wheelchair ramp for Jackson County’s oldest veteran, 103-year-old World War II Navy First Lieutenant Vesta Lou (McClemore) Skelton, of Scottsboro, Alabama.

 Veterans Helping Veterans (VHV) is a joint program primarily funded by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6073 and American Legion (AL) Post 30. VHV is an all-volunteer force that has been building wheelchair ramps and making mobility modifications to veteran's homes since 2017. The VHV Team was honored and humbled to be in the presence of Jackson County’s most precious veteran and treasured public servant who has dedicated her entire life to the betterment of the community.

Vesta Lou McClemore graduated from Jackson County High School in 1939 where she was secretary-treasurer of the Sportsman’s Club and Captain of the Basketball Team. After graduating from nursing school in Birmingham, Vesta Lou was already working as a nurse in Cullman when she decided to join the United States Navy Nurse Corps.


1LT Vesta Lou McClemore served in World War II where she was deployed to the Naval Base Panama Canal Zone from 1944-1945.

1LT McClemore’s commission to the U.S. Navy took place during an important transition in women’s history. It was during this era females serving in the Nurse Corps were first formally recognized as commissioned officers by the federal government. The Nurse Corps has become so essential, it was the only women’s profession to be recognized by the War Manpower Commission. By the end of WWII there were over 11,000 commissioned nurses serving in the Armed Forces worldwide.

Vesta Lou shared with VHV that during her deployment she remembers arriving in the Panama Canal Zone where the naval base hospital was quickly being stood up with many beds. She recalls that between caring for sick and wounded soldiers, they had to travel every day down the canal to the hospital ship where all meals were being served from the galley.


By 1947, Vesta Lou had returned home to Jackson County and was serving as a health department nurse when she met and married fellow WWII veteran and Jackson County native, Mark Scott Skelton. Skelton is the great-grandson of the City of Scottsboro’s Founder, Robert Thomas Scott. Dedicated to his hometown like his parents, Mark and Vesta were the perfect match of two public servant hearts as they worked tirelessly to help grow the community. Mark was called back to active duty to serve in the Korean War. They were married 68 years and raised two children (Mark Scott Jr. and Andy). Vesta Lou Skelton was presented the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and The Daily Sentinel Legacy Award for her lifetime of selfless service. The community we enjoy today is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of public servants like the Skelton’s.


 "I’ve just always been for Jackson County!” exclaimed living legacy Vesta Lou Skelton as she waved her hand in delight over the show of support and her new wheelchair ramp.


Mrs. Skelton asked Veterans Helping Veterans to share that she is grateful for all the support and wants the community to know that she is doing just fine and loves us all.


Learn more about Veterans Helping Veterans at or call 256.259.6161. ###


The author and point of contact for this press release is Gayla Sue Mendez, Public Affairs Officer, VFW Post 6073. Cell: 678-698-0218  Email:



  1. Naval Base Panama Canal Zone - Wikipedia
  2. United States Navy Nurse Corps - Wikipedia
  3. Respected as an Officer Honored as a Navy Nurse
  4. Vesta Lou turns 100 | Feature Story |
  5. Navy Photo courtesy of Ms. Vesta Lou Skelton
  6. JC Sentinel Article: A Part of History - At 97 Vesta Lou Skelton Spend a Lifetime Making it a Better Place

(Shared by Mrs. Skelton)

  1. Interview Between VFW Public Affairs Officer, Gayla Sue Mendez and Mrs. Vesta Lou Skelton on January 13, 2023 at the Skelton home in Scottsboro, Alabama.
  2. Mark Scott Skelton dies at age 95 | Feature Story |
  3. WW2 Military Hospitals | WW2 US Medical Research Centre (